Frankort State Journal. January 7, 2022.

Editorial: Robinson proving that dreams do come true

While many University of Kentucky fans are sad that junior wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson will forego his senior season and enter the NFL Draft, consider us among those who are happy for the Frankfort native for making his childhood dream to play football at the professional level a reality.

Robinson, a 2019 graduate of Western Hills High School and the 2018 recipient of Kentucky’s Mr. Football award, made the video announcement via Twitter on Wednesday, which was also his 21st birthday.

The star player began his collegiate career at the University of Nebraska where he played two years and was underutilized as a receiver. During his freshman season for the Huskers, Robinson was one of four national finalists for the Paul Hornung Award, given annually to the most versatile player in college football and presented by the Louisville Sports Commission.

Robinson transferred to UK last season to be closer to his family, who he said was the reason why he plays the game.

“To this coaching staff, thank you for allowing me to come in and showcase what I envisioned myself doing throughout my whole college career,” he said in the video. “The relationships I have made throughout this whole year was the greatest part about returning home.”

In his lone season for the Wildcats, Robinson emerged as the school’s top wide receiver and rewrote the record book by becoming the first Kentucky player to catch more than 100 passes with 104 receptions for 1,334 yards.

He saved one of his best games for last. In UK’s 20-17 Citrus Bowl victory over Iowa, Robinson hauled in 10 receptions for 170 yards, which included a 52-yard catch-and-run play that set the Wildcats up at the Hawkeyes’ 2-yard line for what became the game-winning touchdown. For his efforts, he was named the bowl’s most valuable player.

For those who question how he will measure up against defensive backs in the NFL, consider this. Throughout his high school and collegiate career, Robinson was never the tallest or biggest player on the field, but he more than makes up for it in hard work and heart — two attributes that can’t be taught. No matter how hard he gets hit, he always seems to pop back up, dust himself off and get ready for the next play.

Robinson is a class act and role model both on and off the field.

In a post on his Facebook page, his father, Dale Robinson, said, “It’s the dream. He wants every kid in Frankfort to know that dreams do come true. Don’t let anybody tell you different.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

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Ashland Daily Independent. January 6, 2022.

Editorial: Singing Bowling’s praises

Once again, a local person has made us proud.

Aaron Bowling, choir director at Boyd County High School, was recently awarded the National Federal High School Outstanding Music Educator Award.

Bowling, who has a bachelor’s degree in music education from Morehead State University and a master’s degree in choral conducting, teaches guitar and music theory as well as choir.

In a time when science, technology, engineering and math are encouraged and rewarded, the arts often continue to be overlooked. Yet time after time, studies show the importance of the arts.

For example, a story published by the New England Board of Higher Education found children learn to process new sounds via music. Language skills and an understanding of music work together as children learn pitch, tone and enunciation of words. Learning a song helps develop the ability to memorize information. Playing an instrument develops hand-eye coordination. The study of music helps develop good study habits and teamwork. Those with musical training have been found to have higher levels of gray matter volume in their brains, which are directly tied to auditory processing and comprehension.

One of the more surprising advantages of music education: Musicians learn to listen to others, sense emotion and react with greater depth and understanding. These are life skills needed in professional and private lives.

Let’s not forget joy. Making music, listening to music, appreciating music brings joy to life, and there is never enough joy.

Given we live in an area in which music is so crucial to our culture, music education is especially important. Music educators play a vital role in students’ lives by introducing a skill that will complement other lessons and will stand alone as an important part of our everyday lives.

We congratulate Aaron Bowling on being recognized for his outstanding and important work.

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Bowling Green Daily News. January 9, 2022.

Editorial: Serious issues demand serious work in General Assembly

Kentucky’s General Assembly convened Tuesday in Frankfort, where legislators are getting appointed to their committees, participating in their caucuses and trying to get the people’s business completed over the next three months.

It will be a tall order, as there are many issues facing the state that must be dealt with, beginning immediately with the once-a-decade task of redrawing congressional and legislative maps. Republicans – who hold supermajorities in both General Assembly chambers – are fast-tracking that work, though as of press time for this piece the final maps had not yet been determined.

Writing a new state budget will be the session’s most important task, however.

As The Associated Press’ Bruce Schreiner wrote last week: “Top lawmakers have signaled they want to return to passing a two-year budget after the uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic led to one-year budgets the past two years. Unlike the lean years of the past, lawmakers have the advantage of deciding what to do with unprecedented amounts of surplus state money as well as another huge round of federal pandemic aid.

“Other issues expected to be at the forefront include education, taxes, workforce development, abortion and sports wagering. (Senate President Robert) Stivers said he will push for legislation to help overcome shortages in health care professions, especially nursing, that worsened during the coronavirus pandemic.”

Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear will deliver his budget speech this week, which is expected to include “historic investments” for education, a pay raise for state workers and investments aimed at spurring more economic growth, according to the AP. But Beshear’s wishes will almost certainly be extensively reshaped by Republicans, who have the numbers to override any of the governor’s vetoes.

In Kentucky, just as around the nation, our deep political divisions seem to have intensified in the wake of a contentious 2020 presidential election and amid sharply different philosophies on how to handle the pandemic. But regardless of political party, we are all Kentuckians at the end of the day.

No matter whether our legislators are Republicans or Democrats, they should come together and do their best to do the people’s work. This might be particularly important this year, considering many people in western Kentucky – including in Bowling Green – need swift and sustained action from state government as they recover from the December tornadoes that killed 77 people and destroyed thousands of homes and businesses.

That issue was the centerpiece of Beshear’s State of the Commonwealth address Wednesday, when he asked for bipartisan support of his proposal to direct $150 million to help affected communities rebuild and another $50 million to help the region’s schools, as well as to provide “additional tools” to attract and keep jobs in those communities, the AP reported.

In the moments after Beshear’s speech, the state GOP signaled a willingness to cooperate with the governor, at least on the issue of tornado recovery aid.

“I think the governor set the right tenor and tone about trying to work together,” Stivers told Kentucky Educational Television after the speech, adding that he believes such collaboration has occurred too infrequently during much of Beshear’s term, according to the AP.

We certainly hope legislators and the governor really are willing to proceed with an attitude of compromise. Too often, the citizens of this state have endured pointless and wasteful partisan bickering and political games between the parties. As a result, taxpayers have sometimes footed the bill for special sessions – at a six-figure cost per day – to do what could and should have been done during the regular session.

We would be naive to believe that both sides of the aisle will agree on all pieces of legislation. That’s simply politics, but we hope there will be civil discourse among our legislators in debating the issues before them during this session.

That is why we urge Stivers, of Manchester, and House Speaker David Osborne, R-Prospect, to encourage their chambers to get to serious work early during this session. We urge Beshear to be flexible and to recognize that Kentuckians have chosen to give Republicans control of the General Assembly. Time is of the essence, so lawmakers must take advantage of their limited time in Frankfort to come together for the common good of all Kentuckians.

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